Friday, September 26, 2008

The Big Reveal

Remember 2.5 months ago when I said I was participating in this?
You saw the before here, now it is time for the after!

I know you have been eagerly anticipating... wondering how my little project turned out. I am sure you were more excited for this moment than the season premier of the Office last night

Speaking of The Office, I was so relieved that Jim and Pam finally had their moment. I loved the smiley rain-soaked Jim that returned to the Office for the final weigh-in (I was a little nervous it wouldn't happen).

What was up with the Toby ending - weird, random and not that funny.

One more Office observation. I love HR Holly in all her dorkiness. She seems to have the weirdness of Michael (which can be lovable) without the over-the-top, clueless inappropriateness. I'm sure the writers will have some fun with those two characters!

Yay, The Office is back!

But I digress; for all of you who are completely lost at this point, please keep reading, smile, nod and leave a comment. They make me happy.

Back to the Before and After...
In July I set two goals for myself. They were to

1. Paint the bathroom vanity and
2. Paint a few sea creatures on the walls for added bathroom fun.

Guess what? I completed my goals (granted I finished goal #2 last night so I would be able to say I finished my goals in a truthful, honest-type way, but hey that was the point of this little blog party - accountability).

Here are the lovely before pictures:

And here, drum roll please, are the afters:

I have to say, I am pleased with the final project. What do you think?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Walk

Tonight Kory got home from work early and we decided to take the kids on a walk.

You know, cause that's what families do. And in my mind, it is a very family-bonding and togetherness kinda thing.

Any guesses where this is heading...

We enjoyed the idealistic, family-bonding type walk for approx a 1/2 block. Then came
  • the yelling to slow down and stay close by the parents
  • tears from one child because she wanted to be first
  • tears from another child because the other child ran into him
  • tears from the third child because he got in trouble for going too far ahead

We ended our lovely walk by yelling at our kids to RUN as we were assaulted by a group of crazy hungry mosquitoes. They were coming at us from all directions and hungry enough to bite through denim jeans.

We barely escaped with our lives.

So, reality didn't match my ideal, It rarely does, but hey that's okay.

Because even though the ideal makes a great mind-picture, it really doesn't make a great story.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Trip to the Lilbrary

We made a trip to the library today. For two reasons.

1. Story hour (or Tuesday's Tales as they called it) was today. The boys listened in awe as the librarian read them books. Seriously, they sat on their red bean bag and stared at the book with their mouths slightly opened.

I don't think I saw them move during the reading of the first book. You would have thought they had never seen a book before (although maybe they had never seen a book read with that much enthusiasm before).

And when the librarian sang songs and did hand motions...

They sat in awe and did not move. By the end of the third song Twin A started to catch on to the hand motions and got a few in before the song was over. Twin B not so much.

2. The second reason we went to the library was to get books. The boys picked their own books, which involved running up to shelves and randomly grabbing whatever caught their fancy.

I vetoed a few. For example, any Dora the Explorer book gets an automatic no. I cannot think of another book more excruciating to read.

And then, it was my turn to pick out a book.

I LOVE picking out my own library books (do I sound like a 5 year old?). And what made today's pick extra fun...

I had no idea what book I wanted to read. It was a surprise!

I just finished reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. In it, the main character Francie reads a book a day. She goes through the books alphabetically with her goal being to read all of them.

I have no desire to do this. BUT, I thought it would be fun to tweak this idea and use it in my own way. So I decided to pick a book whose author's last name starts with A (and maybe the next time I go I will pick a book whose author's last name starts with B).

All that to say, I started Mansfield Park by Jane Austen today!

I love the library *contented sigh*.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Remembering Ukraine

Five years ago Kory and I made our first trip to Ukraine. A part of my heart will forever be attached to that country and the people we met.

Lifesong for Orphans sponsored the trip. Our purpose was to minister to orphans. We helped run a camp of sorts (you can read about last year's trip here). I don't know if our purpose was fulfilled. I have a feeling the American team were the ones truly ministered to.

Since that first trip, 4 teams have returned to Loubetein orphanage. Kory has been a part of two of those teams. I have been a part of one.

Last Sunday, we had a reunion. I knew some of the people who attended. Others, I knew of by name only. Regardless, we all shared a love for a group of kids living in Ukraine.

During the reunion we shared memories of our time at Loubetein. I shared a story about a girl I met on the very first trip. Her name is Valya. You can read that story here.

I still pray for Valya. I know seeds of truth were planted in her heart because of the presences of Lifesong staffers at Loubetein. I also know she has made heartbreaking choices since leaving the orphanage.

But I will always pray for her. I feel like God placed her in my heart for a purpose.

I believe my Heavenly Father knows Valya intimately and He loves her regardless of the choices she makes. I think He connected my heart to Valya's because He wants her to be remembered and prayed for. I get to partner with Him (in a small way) in Valya's life.

My connection with Valya strengthens my belief in a God who cares.

I suppose you could argue that if God really cared, Valya would not live in an orphanage. Orphans would not exist. I don't want to get into that kind of debate in a blog post.

But let me share this thought: We are a broken people living in a broken world. Despite our brokenness, the God of the Universe reaches down and touches lives in personal ways. Sometimes he uses other people to fulfill this purpose. Regardless, He makes himself known and available to those who seek Him. He cares.

He cares about me. He cares about Valya.

I will probably never hear what happened to Valya in this lifetime. But I pray that someday in Heaven I will run into a small girl with long blond hair and brown eyes. She will tell me her story and I will tell her mine and we will rejoice together because we serve a God who cares.

Friday, September 19, 2008

For Peanuts

It happens every year in my home town.

The local Kiwanis Club recruits its members to stand at corners and collect money for peanuts. Literal peanuts. Beer nuts to be exact.

I've noticed this phenomenon over the years and wondered about the lucidity of it.

It is supposed to be a fundraiser.

It must be somewhat effective. Why else would they send their members to man the street corners?

Frankly I don't get it. Whenever I see them, I have no problem driving by guilt free. Giving cash to sweaty people on a street corner just doesn't seem right. And who carries cash anymore?

I know, I know, its for a good cause. They seem somewhat friendly. You've got to give them props for taking time to stand in the middle of the street as cars drive by.

But seriously, would you want to buy peanuts from this guy?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Few Firsts

9 blogger free days. Do you know how many blog posts ran through my head in that amount of time?

Neither do I, but it was a lot.

Some posts you will see in the days to come, most are lost forever in the recesses of this overloaded, loosing brain cells by the day,hour, second mommy brain of mine.

Moving on...

Over the past week, the boys have experienced a few firsts. Last Sunday they had their first day of Sunday School. They have attended the nursery in our church, but the nursery has very little structure (which is to be expected when you are dealing with 1 and 2 year olds) as well as different "teachers" each week.

Last Sunday was official, more structured, same Sunday School teachers every week, sing, color, put a sticker on your name, listen to a Bible story Sunday School.

He wouldn't admit it, but Twin B was a little nervous. Suddenly everything was wrong with the world. He didn't want to drive past preschool. He wanted to go to Grandma's church, not this one. The sun was too bright.

But once we got to his room, he was fine. They both had a great time!

Yesterday was the other first - the first day of preschool!

They were both excited - I think.

Twin A talked big about how excited he was, but the moment we got out of the van and his big kid buddy came to get him he decided he didn't want to go to preschool. So I followed them in the building (and was able to leave quickly without any dramatics once their teachers distracted them - yay!) .

Twin B, on the other hand, started to get negative again, BUT once we got out of the van seemed to have no problems and was ready to go.

Both boys had a great time and are looking forward to next week.

Do you know what the best part about preschool was? I am giddy as I write this. I had an hour and a half with ONE small child. We were in and out of stores like you wouldn't believe. I was crossing things off of my list like a crazy woman.

It was a grand moment.

I don't think the boys will be the only ones looking forward to preschool next week.

I can't wait!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Oh bitter woe!

To quote my sister ..."Oh bitter woe!"

Our computer has been afflicted with a virus

Saturday morning we rushed our trusty PC to the emergency room (so to speak), but the damage was done.  An extended stay was required.

All that to say it is Monday morning and I am computer less.

Oh bitter woe!!!!!!!!!!!!

No blog.  No email.  No Internet.

No communication with the outside world.
unless you call the telephone a form of communication

Computer doctor work your magic so I can be reunited with my friendly PC.  

Hopefully I will see you, my dear bloggy friends, before too long.  Until then don't forget me.  I won't be forgetting you.

(A special thanks to my sister for taking time to help me with this little post written with *gasp* pen and paper.  How quaint.)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Did you know...

Did you know that Hearts at Home has a blog?

It is a great (almost) daily resource for moms. Throughout the month you will find:

  1. Posts from our fabulous authors
  2. Mom Tips
  3. Book Reviews
  4. Recipes
  5. Mom Interviews
  6. Encouragement from other moms
  7. Monthly Giveaways!

In fact, in a little over a week, the Hearts blog will be giving away a Hearts at Home bracelet (hosted by Share His Story).

Help me spread the word and let other moms know about this great resource!

As a quick add on to yesterday's "listening in" post. I had the same little visitor last night. This time he came in to tell me "I want to sleep in my bed mom."

Thank you son. Thank you.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Listening In

3:00 Am

Mommy woken up by a crying twin thinks, "Should I get up or let him cry it out"

Being a good mommy, I went. Wrong decision.

Mommy: Buddy what's wrong.

Twin A: I want to listen to music mom.

Mommy: Sorry, kid we don't listen to music at 3 IN THE MORNING.

Mommy shuffles back to bed.

5 minutes later...

The padding of little feet is heard in Mommy's bedroom. Twin A's head appears.

Mommy: What is it?

Twin A: I want to sleep with my blanket and pillow NOT mom.

Mommy: Fine, go back to bed.

5 minutes later again...

The padding of feet is heard again. Twin A's head appears again.

Mommy: What is it this time?

Twin A: I want to sleep with my blanket and pillow.

Mommy: Thanks for the play-by-play kid now GO TO SLEEP!

Ahh, the joys of motherhood do NOT include a good night's sleep. Or maybe I should say they include a good night's sleep NOT.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Proper Way to Use Technology - 6

Is it rude to check your PDA at a friend's house?

Joni Blecher, editorial director of, replies "A little bit. But if you arrive at a friend's home and explain that you need to check a few e-mails before you visit so you can give her your full attention, she will probably understand.

Will Schwalbe, coauthor of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to do it Better, gives this little rule, "Think of your PDA as a crossword puzzle. Anywhere it's acceptable to work on a crossword puzzle, it's OK to check your PDA."

Sounds like good advice to me.

I think technology is great. I love e-mail and cell phones as much as the next guy. But, the problem with e-mail and cell phones (and PDAs) is that they bring the urgent to us immediately and sometimes, the important (but unurgent) things get left behind or ignored.

It can be hard to find a balance and let go of the urgent things (especially when they interrupt life like a ringing cell phone) to focus on what (or who) is really important.

That thought begs one final question - How do you keep a balance between the urgent (but not necessarily important) and important (but not necessarily urgent) things in your life?

(question and responses taken from September 2008 issue of Real Simple magazine. Article was titled "Manners 2.0 and written by Katie McElveen)

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Proper Way to Use Technology - 5

If someone calls you, can you e-mail the person back or send a text message if you're not in the mood to talk? What if you text or e-mail someone and the person calls you back?

Will Schwalbe, coauthor of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better, says, "Think about what is the best way to respond. If someone called you to get directions somewhere, for instance, reply via e-mail so you can send along a map."

Joni Blecher, editorial director of, adds "If you text someone because you don't want to talk and the person calls back , don't answer. If you do answer, the other person will sense your foul mood immediately and might get offended. Just text back that you can't talk now but will call later. Your friend will thank you.

Seems straightforward enough. Personally, I have never been a "phone talker." E-mail is my preferred method of communication. If I can get by with sending an e-mail instead of making a phone call I jump on it.

"Of course, for things like catching up with a good friend or venting, e-mail just doesn't cut it. If face to face isn't possible, the phone is a good alternative!" says self-proclaimed expert, megs. :)

And the final question is:

Is it rude to check your PDA at a friend's house?

As an aside, there are more questions in the September issue of Real Simple, but to find them you are going to have to find a copy of the magazine. My blog series ends here. (Whoa, I think I actually heard the collective sigh of relief from those who frequent my blog. Yes dear friends, the end is in sight!)

(question and responses taken from September 2008 issue of Real Simple magazine. Article was titled "Manners 2.0 and written by Katie McElveen)